Toyota anniversary points to strong W.Va. workforce - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Toyota anniversary points to strong W.Va. workforce

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A little more than 20 years ago, the current site of Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia was a barren field. Today, there stands a growing monument to what our state’s workforce can accomplish when we are given an opportunity. 

The 267-acre plant employs about 1,600 people and produces transmissions and engines. Toyota has invested millions in the facility since production began, and the company has expanded the Putnam County plant eight times. It is a true success story and all of us should be proud of the work being done there.

We can also point to this facility — and others like it across the state — to show what our working men and women are capable of. In 2015, they produced almost 700,000 engines. That’s an amazing number.

Toyota executives are not known for making strategic errors or lacking business acumen. Their 20 years of faith, both in this plant and in its employees, offers direct, tangible proof that business can feel comfortable investing in West Virginia’s workforce. They based an entire national marketing campaign on how efficient this workforce is. 

Negative headlines certainly are not difficult to find when it comes to our economy. Though progress has been made, our legal climate must improve; our workforce participation is terrible; many of our schools must do a better job of preparing students for a global economy; and our tax structure must be more equitable.  But we can compete and we can win when we are given a chance. The question has been: How can we emulate this success across our state and across every industry? Toyota and a handful of other businesses throughout the state operate outside a regressive tax code. Why not give everyone that same opportunity?

There is no doubt the majority of our elected leaders are doing all they can to make West Virginia a place where prosperity can flourish and our people can experience the kind of success so often found across our borders. When we celebrate a company like Toyota’s success, we send a strong signal to not just the rest of America, but the entire world, that West Virginia is force to be reckoned with. Risk is part of any business decision and nothing is guaranteed. But a willing, thoughtful, dedicated workforce is a huge indicator of lasting success. We have that here. We have had it for generations. Toyota understands it, and it’s high time the rest of the globe comes to know one immutable fact — you can count on West Virginia workers.

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